The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary

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Chapter 195: From Negotiation to Proposal

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Chapter 195: From Negotiation to Proposal

“So, I’m here to negotiate about the commission and additional rewards, Demon King.”

“Welcome.”

“What? Um… Are we doing it with this kind of mood?”

In the end, Loren decided that they could not refuse the request from the Demon King. And if you couldn’t say no, might as well try to get the maximum reward. So, Loren asked Lapis to guide him to the office of Judie, the Demon King.

Judie was sitting at a huge ebony desk in her office, working on some paperwork. She didn’t seem offended by Loren and the others’ sudden visit at all, and welcomed them casually. For some reason, Lapis, her daughter, seemed fl.u.s.tered at her reaction.

“Is there a problem?”

“Loren, I’m not sure if I should be the one to tell you this, but you’re dealing with a Demon King. A Demon King, the root of all evils and the enemy of all things, as far as mankind is concerned.”

“She is… your mother, right?”

“I can say that because she is my mother. If you talk like that with another Demon King, you’ll become like this, like this!”

Lapis stuck out her tongue and mimed slas.h.i.+ng at her own neck with her hand. As Judie was called a Demon King, there was a lot to consider, and Loren wondered if he should just think of her as a normal King now.

Just then, Judie asked from behind the desk:

“So, what can I do for you?”

“I’ve come to negotiate with you about the commission. I’d like to ask for a little more in the way of compensation.”

“Negotiate with a Demon King?”

Judie said in an amused tone. She looked so young that Loren could hardly believe she was Lapis’ mother. She was sitting on a chair, so naturally she had to look up when talking to him. With that gesture and that appearance, he wouldn’t find it strange if she was introduced as Lapis’ sister.

“I have no intention to be pushy with a Demon King. If we refuse the commission, you’ll just order us to do it, right? If we value our lives, we have to listen to you.”

“As a parent, I won’t say such unreasonable things to my daughter’s friend.”

Judie stressed the word ‘friend’ strangely. Loren’s mouth turned down, while Lapis glared at her with a sullen look.

“Wait a bit. We’re missing one person, aren’t we?”

Loren suddenly noticed something and asked. Lapis answered with no hesitation:

“Gula has been kidnapped by the maids just now.”

It seemed that Gula, who was supposed to be following him and Lapis at the end of the line, had been taken somewhere by the maids without him noticing. The maids being able to kidnapped someone like Gula without making him noticed horrified Loren, but he had something to tell Lapis first:

“If you saw, you should stop them…”

“I can manage with one or two maids, but… Five or six of them at once is dangerous even for me…”

“There were that many?!”

Loren was actually a little nervous about negotiating with a Demon King, but the fact that several maids were able to move like that without him noticing anything unnerved him even further.

As Lapis nodded with a somber face, Judie looked as if she was being shown something interesting. She told Loren in a testing tone:

“So, do you still want to negotiate?”

Judie’s voice, even though just a little, had an intimidating edge to it. The actual question was, under such a circ.u.mstance where Loren was swarmed by maids that could take away someone like Gula without being noticed, did he really think he could bear the brunt of this negotiation?

“Ah, that’s a different topic.”

Loren’s answer to her question was simple.

Since Judie had such skilled maids, she could have had them carry out this commission. But she asked Loren to do it instead, so he figured that there must be some reason for her to select him. Unless that reason became nullified, she would not harm him.

“I see. You’ve got some nerves.”

“I’m just stubborn.”

Loren believed that risking his life for a cheap reward was not that different from being buried here in secret due to having incurred a Demon King’s displeasure, and such thought was what enabled him to make that statement.

Judie looked at him blankly for a moment, then said with suppressed laughter in her voice:

“Indeed, indeed. You seem like a pretty good fit to be the person by Lapis’ side.”

“Mother?!”

Lapis exclaimed in a fl.u.s.ter, but Judie just gave her a glance without saying anything, then immediately turned her attention back to Loren:

“So, you want to have your reward raised?

“And some support to complete the commission. I’m not sure if we can successfully climb a mountain inhabited by a dragon by our own power only.”

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Even if they were asked to accomplish it on their own, impossible was impossible. At the very least, Loren was not optimistic enough to think that he could carry out this commission without the help of demons, as there was a possibility that they would encounter a dragon.

“It’s definitely not like a Demon King to give something to someone just because they’ve asked for it. So, if you want something, take it yourself. That’s more like how demons are, isn’t it?”

“Are you asking him to fight you, mother?”

That was even more unreasonable, or so Lapis believed. Loren’s opponent would be someone who was excellent at eliminating powerful individuals. After all, only those who came out at the top of the pack could earn the t.i.tle of ‘Demon King’. Fighting such an opponent to win something was out of the question, unless the challenger was one of those heroes that appeared very rarely in human history.

But Judie quickly shook her head at Lapis’ question.

“That’s absurd.”

“Ah, so you do know that it’s absurd. I’m a little relieved.”

“No, if that boyfriend next to you is a hero, I will consider it.”

“That’s differ… Uhm? Errr… Huh? Should I deny it?”

“I’m not a hero, aren’t I?”

“Th-that’s right. Loren is not a hero.”

Lapis seemed confused by something, and her reply was incoherent. But after Loren pointed it out, she finally gave a clear denial. Judie seemed to find it amusing, she rested her chin on one hand and tapped the desktop with the index finger of her other hand.

“That’s why a Demon King might be too much for you to handle. But you’ll manage if it’s her aide, won’t you?”

“What do you mean?”

“You want support and extra pay. I want to have the job done as cheaply as possible. The rest is simple, isn’t it? We’ll fight to decide how much of each other’s claims we’ll accept. Very demon-like.”

“I’m a demon myself, but if you’re asking me whether that’s demon-like or not, I’m inclined to say no.”

Lapis said with a sour expression, but Judie shook her head.

“It’s a difference of opinion. I’m not going to dwell on it.”

Lapis understood that it meant she wouldn’t make concessions any further, so she let Loren make the decision.

“Your representative will fight with my representative, and the loser will have to accept the winner’s terms. Take it or leave it, it’s all up to you. Choose as you please. How is it?”

How the h.e.l.l should he answer?

Judie seemed to enjoy herself. Wondering how he should answer, Loren gazed back at the Demon King, who were observing him with her purple eyes.

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